Another fashion crime vomited up by the 80s, Witchboard is the brainchild of Kevin S. Tenney, who went on to do the similarly wacky, though better-crafted, Night of the Demons.
We begin at a party,and we get some horror right off the bat: the hair, the fringe jackets, and the dancing.
Then there’s a drunken argument in the corner about the origins of the universe, but neither Dr. Lawrence Krauss nor Dr. William Lane Craig can be found.
And you know where these seemingly intractable debates lead…fistfight? Search for common ground? No. A Ouija board. Like all psychics, we didn’t see that one coming!
One of the interlocutors (and self-described atheist) is Brandon, a pompous blowhard lawyer who drives a Beamer. He explains the etymology of the Ouija, apparently a portmanteau of French and German words for “yes.” If that were the case though, it would be pronounced “Wee-Ya.” No matter. He pulls out a board and claims he’s been communicating with the long-dead spirit of a boy, David. Partygoer Jim (Brandon’s nemesis, and a construction worker) calls bullshit.
Everything grinds to a halt at the party, because nothing is more exciting than Ouija. Linda (80s video vixen Tawny Kitaen) indulges Brandon and puts her hands on the planchette as they attempt to communicate with the Great Beyond.
Linda borrows the board and starts to become obsessed with it, and in her spare time talking to young David (who it turns out, after some fastidious research by Jim and Brandon, died in some kind of fire).
As is often the case, the spirit world is an angry place and the real world starts being affected by the otherworldly disaffection. One of Jim’s colleagues is killed by falling sheet-rock after an axe telekinetically lops off the safety supports. Petrified, they call in a psychic, who’s subsequently killed (she didn’t see that one coming, another zing!)
Then it’s up to Brandon and Jim, once rivals for the heart of Linda, to save her from possession, or “progressive entrapment” as it’s called here, allusions to which were in The Exorcist.
Spirited stuff if you will, with unintended hilarity, crappy performances and a cool plot.
*** (out of 5)
[Check out our Really Awful Movies Podcast discussion of Witchboard]